International Men’s Day 2019


I wrote Invisible Boys because I wanted to show the world that boys and men suffer, and how our suffering shows up in various ways.

Sometimes our suffering makes us small and quiet and self-loathing, like Zeke.

Sometimes it makes us angry and confrontational, like Charlie.

Sometimes it just makes us seem like arrogant “dickheads”, as many people have described Hammer.

In almost all cases, however, men and boys suffer with one almost universal commonality: we usually do it in silence.

This silence is killing us. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 40. We’re taking our own lives at a rate TRIPLE that of females, and this stat has not budged for AGES.

We don’t open up and say how we’re feeling, and I am convinced, in my bones, that if we gave ourselves permission to be vulnerable, and boldly tackle what’s going on inside, we would help ourselves to suffer less.

I believe developing the muscles required to be vulnerable makes a man more masculine, not less. The willingness to bare our souls, to face what is within us – whether virtue or demon – makes us braver and stronger and more assertive and more powerful. And yep, more manly. 💪💪

So today let’s acknowledge that the struggle is real for men and boys all across this fucked-up planet – not just gay guys, but all guys.

And in all the earnestness of this post, let’s not forget that today really ought to be a celebration of men and our awesomeness, not just a lamenting of our issues.

So here’s to all the legendary blokes out there, being heroes and lovers and fathers and sons and brothers and soldiers and healers and leaders and artists and sportsmen and dreamers. Here’s to the blokes who are tough as nails and those who are gentle as a feather. Here’s to the slack and the ambitious, the pristine and the traumatised, the stoic and the empathetic, the passionate and the larrikin.

Here’s to us men, being what proud of what we are and working hard at what we could become. 💪💪



Author: Holden Sheppard

YA Author from Western Australia.

2 thoughts on “International Men’s Day 2019”

  1. Hi Holden,
    Thought I’d leave a note..
    you probably hear this a million times a week right now but here goes..
    I’m a bit older than you, 44 soon.. but I grew up in the country in WA.. a farm boy and a younger son.. and damn me I wish I’d had this book when I was a teen.
    If it wasn’t for a fairly lucky break (I got into the army) I was bloody close to being Matt in your novel. It was a close call.
    I haven’t heard you speak, and I know you have more talent in communicating the tension, chaos and passion of being a gay kid in country Australian conservatism and I know I saw decisions I lived through in all of your characters.. but here’s an unsolicited response to your blog.. don’t be afraid to talk about Matt.. we are here and some of us make it through. The other three are of course the more clearly elucidated characters. But Matt’s message is the one I found most powerful. Such a real person for me.
    Talk about suicide. Every chance you get.. it’s when it’s hidden that we think it’s the only option left.. provide options.
    Anyway you’re a legend mate, I think you’re awesome in every way, I loved the book and I genuinely think you have a big future.
    I haven’t seen you speak but hope to sometime soon. Though I’m in Canberra.. so it’s a long way from the centre of the world lol..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Brendon, thanks heaps mate for your raw and honest message – it’s what we need more of I reckon. Great to hear from other country WA lads. I feel privileged to hear your story. Matt is a very important character to me, because Matt is also a facet of my own self, so I’m glad you related, too. I’m now an ambassador for Lifeline WA so I am spreading the word and talking openly about suicide and how I overcame my own suicidal ideation to live the life I want to live. Big thanks for all the kind words about me & IB. I am hoping to make it to Canberra to speak in 2020, so stay tuned on my social media for details of when that will happen. All best mate. Holden


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